Upward, Outward and Onward

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Having purchased their second home, the homeowners initially came to Eren Design & Remodeling intending to simply update the kitchen. But Eren owner and general contractor Janice Donald had worked on many of the other homes in that subdivision, and she knew that if the homeowners really wanted their Tucson, Ariz.

September 01, 2006

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The home's new columns and revamped exposed beams lend the clerestory windows balance.
After photography by Robin Stancliff

Having purchased their second home, the homeowners initially came to Eren Design & Remodeling intending to simply update the kitchen. But Eren owner and general contractor Janice Donald had worked on many of the other homes in that subdivision, and she knew that if the homeowners really wanted their Tucson, Ariz. home to be a standout, they needed to look up, up and away from the kitchen.

"Raising the ceiling in the entryway was the feature that would have the single biggest impact in this project," she says. "We painted the picture of what was possible — what we saw that they weren't looking at — and as soon as they could see what was possible, we began taking down the walls."

 

The ceiling height was raised from 7 feet, 9 inches to 8 feet, 10 inches. A 10-foot-high skylight was added to make the entryway more majestic and less confined and to capture the beautiful mountain and city views. Knocking down the walls and raising the ceilings made each individual facet of the great room — which, collectively, set the tone and establish the character of the home — and created the open, spacious feel the homeowners wanted.

Before

The raised ceiling along with the arched entry and column supports helped to create an open feel to the kitchen and keep consistency throughout the house.

The lighting scheme of the great room — especially the ambient lighting in the skylight (cove lighting hidden behind molding), down-lit columns and the pin lighting added to highlight specific pieces of art in the home — creates a warm and inconspicuously smart relationship between the three spaces. Donald says that more attention to detail was given in this project as they were able to execute it as a true turn-key project: Eren did all of the interior decorating, chose furnishings and created other individual touches, such as the handcrafted fireplace screen and the handcrafted hardware on the exposed beam.

"Our clients really did want something different than the other houses in that subdivision, and by us completing every part of the design, we made sure it had the Eren signature," Donald says of the four-month, $450,000 project. She estimates that the great room represents approximately 15 percent of the total project cost and five weeks of the total project time. "With the free reign we were given from our clients, we were able to do everything we could possibly think of to rejuvenate this home and make it stand out."

 

Remodeler: Eren Design & Remodeling Co., Inc.
Project location: Tucson, Ariz.
Scope of work: A whole-house renovation, with special focus on the great room (entryway, living room and dining room)


 

No Frame is the Same

Even though Eren Design & Remodeling in Tucson, Ariz., has experience working on similar home models in that neighborhood, they soon found what all good remodelers know: you never know what you'll find once you get behind the walls. Once the entryway was stripped to install the skylight, they discovered the entryway was the transfer for gas, water and HVAC. They first added another HVAC unit to the far end of the house to relieve the load on that primary unit, and then they built a soffit down the length of the master bedroom to reroute the existing HVAC lines which feed both the master bedroom and living room. Finally, the gas and water lines were pushed to the roof line, which gave the necessary space for entirely reframing the area so it could accommodate each of the skylights.

"It was a complex feat to get the four skylights balanced and centered in that existing framing and making them appear as one unit," Donald says of this three-week process. "Our designer worked very closely in the field to ensure the skylight was centered in the space, worked well with the front doors and had presentation integrity." All of this was accomplished without adding any soffits to any of the rooms in the great room area and thereby diminishing ceiling height.


Products List

HVAC: Broan-NuTone. Doors: Andersen, Pella. Fireplace: Flame Connection. Home Systems & Controls: Accura. Lighting Fixtures: Kichler. Locksets: Baldwin, Schlage. Paints & Stains: Dunn Edwards. Millwork & Molding: Royal. Security Systems: ADT. Windows: Milgard, Pella

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